Eating fish and farm life reduce allergic rhinitis at the age of twelve

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2018 May;29(3):283-289. doi: 10.1111/pai.12875. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Background: The prevalence of allergic rhinitis has increased, but the cause of this rise is partly unknown. Our aim was to analyse the prevalence, risk factors, and protective factors for allergic rhinitis in 12-year-old Swedish children.

Methods: Data were collected from a prospective, longitudinal cohort study of children born in western Sweden in 2003. The parents answered questionnaires when the children were 6 months to 12 years. The response rate at 12 years was 76% (3637/4777) of the questionnaires distributed.

Results: At the age of 12, 22% of children had allergic rhinitis and 57% were boys. Mean age at onset was 7.8 years, and 55% reported their first symptoms after 8 years. The most common trigger factors were pollen (85%), furry animals (34%), and house dust mites (17%). A multivariate analysis showed that the adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the independent risk factors for allergic rhinitis at 12 were as follows: parental allergic rhinitis (2.32, 1.94-2.77), doctor-diagnosed food allergy in the first year (1.75, 1.21-2.52), eczema in the first year (1.61, 1.31-1.97), and male gender (1.25, 1.06-1.47). Eating fish once a month or more at age of 12 months reduced the risk of allergic rhinitis at 12 years of age (0.70, 0.50-0.98) as did living on a farm with farm animals at 4 years (0.51, 0.32-0.84). Continuous farm living from age 4 to 12 seemed to drive the association.

Conclusions: Allergic rhinitis affected > 20% of 12-year-olds, but was lower in children who ate fish at 12 months or grew up on a farm with farm animals.

Keywords: allergic rhinitis; cohort study; farm animal; fish; protective factor; risk factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Farms
  • Female
  • Fishes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / etiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Allergens